Sunday, July 29, 2012

How Safe is Our Country?

I have been getting many forwarded emails carrying news or stories of snatch theft victims being accosted sometimes in daylight in car parks and on road sides. They are lucky to be alive. These stories are all current based on the dates stated but it can be doctored of course. Even if I believe half of what I read the sudden increase of bold robberies is a cause of concern to every peace loving resident of our nation. I don't think these stories were fabricated to snipe at the police or the Home ministry for failing to nip growing crime especially in the cities. Government linked papers too report such news of homes burgled. Fortunately few ended in injuries or death. My point is we, or rather our law enforcement agencies, have lost grounds in staying ahead of criminals. Maybe the same can be said even of developed nations but it is no excuse or reason to think we are no worst off and therefore lower our guard.

Criminals treat what they do as a career, and plan how to succeed in their outings. It used to be primitive attempts to grab and run. Now they work in pairs or more, track their victims and calculate the risk versus reward before striking. Only amateurs lose but as they learn from their failures and mistakes their subsequent attempts will be more successful. We fall victims because we think we won't be hit. Robbers love victims who are over confident, or stupidly cocky. They deserve what they lose.

We probably won't get back the safe life we were used to. We can no longer leave our gate or front door opened. In fact, even if we are at home it is advisable to always lock them. That way you are in control of who can or cannot enter your house. We also cannot move about freely and unprepared for any likely attack. This means we have to regulate how we move and when we move. It is crazy we have to plan our movements to protect ourselves. We are also advised to be armed with something - pepper spray, whistle, a sharp object for self defense, or perhaps learn how to avoid getting injured, or raped. More families are keeping guard dogs, instal surveillance cameras and alarm system. Parents are taking lessons themselves and teaching their children to avoid falling victims to cheats and molesters.

There never seem to be enough policemen around. When you need them most they were doing something else. And criminals nowadays are not afraid of the police. In fact I think they think they can outthink and outsmart them. I believe our police force is realizing they are not able to contain crime let alone reduce it. And this is worrying. It means we have to police our own safety from now on.

Even in the United States when it is legal to own firearms to defend against criminals we read of mass killings by psychotic killers because guns can be purchased over the counter. How do we keep ourselves safe from becoming victimized? One way is stay in a 'clean' neighborhood. You define what is 'clean' but basically it means if you trust your neighbors and their visitors. Another way is stay clear of potentially dangerous situations, like moving alone, in the dark or dressing to attract. Thirdly is don't flaunt your wealth unless you have bodyguards.

We may not have reached the level of heightened suspicion towards every stranger we see or meet, that we keep our doors bolted and stay indoor most of the time. Sadly we are living in evil time and so we must live protectively. I am not pessimistic that we cannot overcome and make our nation safer to live and work. It will take much efforts by both our police and ourselves to outsmart the criminals.

In THIS related news report more and more Malaysians are going after CCTVs as a way to deter and detect intruders. This is the latest self help method to provide peace of mind that subscribers can have some measure of control after many have become disillusioned with the effectiveness of security guards. Unfortunately a CCTV only record movements but cannot apprehend any intruders. If we assume a monthly installation of 5000 CCTV units Malaysia may be the world's most insecure nation. But frankly many families install them less for tracking intruders than to track their foreign maids at home.

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